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Facebook Expand its Portal Family of Home Video-Calling Devices with Three New Models

All WhatsApp calls on Portal are end-to-end encrypted, the company said in a statement late Wednesday

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Facebook, Home, Video Calling
Facebook has added a new way to connect with friends on Portal through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger calling. Portal offers hands-free voice control. Pixabay

Facebook has expanded its Portal family of home video-calling devices with three new models: Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV.

Facebook has added a new way to connect with friends on Portal through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger calling. Portal offers hands-free voice control.

All WhatsApp calls on Portal are end-to-end encrypted, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

In addition to the US and Canada, the Portal lineup is coming to the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Facebook, Home, Video Calling
Facebook has expanded its Portal family of home video-calling devices with three new models: Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. Pixabay

Portal and Portal Mini begin shipping from October 15 and Portal TV begins shipping from November 5.

Portal Mini costs $129, Portal $179 and Portal TV is for $149.

Portal Mini has an 8-inch HD display and Portal has larger 10-inch HD display for video calls, displaying photos and watching videos in either portrait or landscape orientations.

“Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera intelligently pans and zooms to stay with the action so you can move and talk freely while always being in frame,” said Facebook.

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You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.

The “Story Time” feature on Portal brings stories to life with animation, music and augmented reality (AR) effects.

“Portal’s Superframe can display your favourite photos, videos and birthday reminders so you always feel a little more connected to your family and friends,” the company added.

Portal has Amazon Prime Video app for streaming movies, including Amazon Originals. (IANS)

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Facebook Apps Helped EU Firms Generate 208 bn Euros in Sales

The study also found that female-founded businesses, in particular, credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook apps have helped businesses in the European Union (EU) generate sales corresponding to an estimated 208 billion euros last year – resulting in nearly 3.1 million jobs, the social networking giant said in a new report.

According to Facebook, around 25 million businesses in the European Union, mostly small businesses, are using its services each month.

“Businesses said that using Facebook apps helped them generate an estimated 98 billion euros in exports last year. Of these exports, 58 billion euros are sales within the EU and 40 billion euros are sales to the rest of the world,” Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said on Monday.

To understand the true extent of Facebook’s impact on the European economy, the company commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics, one of the leading economic firms in Europe. The study surveyed over 7,700 businesses across all industries and sizes in 15 countries.

“This shows the critical role social media plays in driving sales for businesses across Europe. This is particularly true for small and medium sized businesses,” Mendelsohn added.

Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Six in 10 companies said Facebook apps are important in lowering marketing costs and a similar number said Facebook apps are important in improving customer service.

“Six in 10 businesses using Facebook apps report them as helpful to enter markets, and 7 in 10 businesses using Facebook apps are exporting to other countries compared to 5 in 10 non-users,” the report mentioned.

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The study also found that female-founded businesses, in particular, credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses.

“Fifty-eight per cent of female-founded businesses surveyed said that Facebook apps are important for enabling them to start businesses, while 65 per cent said it helped grow their revenue,” said the report. (IANS)